We asked the CEO of Carrier Bag Shop to share his thoughts on how to build and share a company vision……..
There are already plenty of articles, blog posts and books about the benefits of having a positive company culture and building it on a shared vision. The benefits of having a team all pulling in the same direction are undeniable – so what I want to avoid doing is regurgitating them. Instead, I’d like to suggest some very simple tips on how to develop and express your entrepreneurial vision to your organisation. I hope this blog article is practical for you and can serve as a potential check list which you can measure your current company culture and vision against. As always, I’d welcome any feedback so do leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Keep it simple
The larger your company grows, the more diverse the team will become. This is both in levels of responsibility, commercial awareness and the roles they perform. As a founder and director it is very easy to get motivated by elaborate and detailed plans of where you want to take the business, but just remember the more complex you make it, the more difficult it will be to share it. Remember your audience and the make up of your team.
Keep it varied
Not everyone is motivated by numbers or money, or by being the best or the market leader. Your vision needs to play to a range of different motivating factors that exist for people. Some people of course, find it easier to be focused on a turnover or profit goal, or a market share number. Some people care more about reputation, or quality standards and community. Others want to know they are doing good in the world. So remember to make your company vision varied to cover a range of motivating factors.
Make it visible and visual
Everyone absorbs information in different ways and so you need to make sure that when you have a concise company vision and values, they are shared to the team in a way that resonates with everyone. This can be handouts, written explanations, posters, videos or other forms of content. The more visible it is, there is more chance of you harnessing the power of this shared vision.
Little and often
I’m a firm believer in full staff gatherings (Town Halls in our organisation), a minimum of once every six months but preferable every quarter. The smaller your organisation, in theory it should be easier to do even more frequently, but try not to make it too long. These meetings are your chance to share and re-iterate how the company is doing on its path to achieving it’s goals. And with these meetings, little and often is the best strategy. Don’t give too much detail, but give relevant information frequently.
Send regular e-mails to the team. These should come from the CEO or MD and give people light touch updates and be in your own voice. It show’s you care, are accessible and focused.
Don’t be scared of change
Goals aren’t always achieved, and visions are about the long terms goals we want to reach. Sometimes things happen that mean we can’t achieve what we started out do and we have to pivot and change. Honest feedback and openness to change shows good leadership. I’ve often had to stand up in front of the organisation and admit to people that we were wrong in decisions or we’re taking things apart and the honesty with the team has always resulted in positive outcomes.
Get feedback and input
I always say to business owners that whilst they may own the shares of a company, they don’t own the spirit – that rests with the employees. They will have a far better feel for the culture that you will and they will also potentially be closer to the customers on a daily basis. By involving them in goal setting and decision making around the long term strategy of the company, you are sure to increase buy in and make the goals, culture and vision relevant for your organisation.
These are by all means not a full comprehensive checklist of ideas, but I hope they give you some guidance!